"Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28, 1863. Why we fight.

Lt.Col. Charles Cummings
16th Vt. Regt.

"My Dearest Wife,

"This afternoon the 14th, 15th, and 16th Vermont Regiments have been ordered to be ready to receive marching orders at a moment’s notice with two days cooked rations where to I do not know, but I suspect in the direction of Leesburg towards Harper’s Ferry from here. It is  said that the rebel cavalry is threatening an attack in that quarter. After all just as likely as not it  is only a big scare. ...

"The most painful spectacle that now presents itself is that of the traitorous copperhead “peace” men in the north who are talking and acting treason under the guise of restoring “the Union as it was and the Constitution as it is.” They are a secret confederation of traitors who see in the putting down of the rebellion and the consequent downfall of slavery the loss of their natural political allies and their future party poverty. It stirs one’s blood that the miserable, craven hearted demagogues not content with their own treason should seek to link the brave soldiers who are periling all they hold dear in the defense of their country with them in their shame. 

"C. H. Davenport of Wilmington is one of this number. He came out here and after hearing me talk said I was the first officer he had seen who was willing to support the administration to the utmost in putting down the rebellion and in employing any and every means for that purpose. He went home and most shamefully belied the 16th Regiment.

"Last Monday a series of resolutions persuasive of the sentiments of the 16th Regiment in relation to the war were drawn up and signed by every commissioned officer present and after being read on dress parade were put to vote, when on the question of there adoption from six to seven hundred men all that were present, answered a thundering, hearty, unanimous aye! These have been sent to Vermont, and will appear in some of the papers. The army is all right and if the men and women we have left behind us will take care of the miserable platoon who are maligning us we will put down the rebellion here, and then come home and squelch their treasonable speech and practices.

"I have faith that we shall succeed. I recognize but one alternative - Disunion or the subjugation of the rebels. To disunion, I will never willingly consent so long as my arm and my tongue is left. Whatever I am, I am at my country’s service until this great work is accomplished  and may God speed the day. 
~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter  February 28, 1863. VHS.

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